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Q: Can failed outer axle boots damage axle? on 2004 BMW 325xi

A year ago, I brought my 2004 BMW 325 xi (81,000 miles) in for routine maintenance. When I picked the car up, the BMW shop explained that they found premature failure of the CV outer axle boots. Both boots were split and leaking grease. They replaced both boots as the grease had leaked, and the axle was were turning dry. This was covered under warranty. In December 2010, car was vibrating while riding. They stated they had to replace the right front CV shaft. They did this and the vibration stopped. Narurally, this was not covered since my certified car warranty expoired in July 2010. Should the defect to the CV shaft (axle) have been discovered when they examined the vehicle and replaced the boots in January? Could the left the left front CV shaft also be expected to fail? Is this a common problem. I am not sure if this car is safe, and I feel BMW shafted me. Is there a government agency I should report this to in case a recall is needed?
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Hi Bob,

Rear CV boot failure, while it does happen is not very common. However on all wheel drive BMWs we see a lot of front outer CV boot failures in New England. The combination of harsh winter conditions and the constent articulation of the outer boot causes them to fail. Because they also have to turn the front shafts, the fronts tend to bind and fail more when there is a CV boot tear. If the front boot was intact when you brought the car in to have the rear axles repaired they were most likely in perfect working condition. When the front boots tear, you have very little time to have them replaced because the axle joint will fail due to sand and grit making there way in between the ball bearings.

One option the dealer never offers is just replacing the CV joint which can be done for much less expensce. The reason why is it takes them more time and they make less money on the part as it's less expensive. They would rather just remove the old axle, slam a new one home in 60 minutes and charge you $1,500 insted of taking the time to rebuild the old one.

Once the repair is made, either CV joint or new axle the car is perfectly safe. As it is a very common problem on almost all AWD cars. The only thing that helps with this is making sure to clean the underside of your BMW. I tell my wife once a week in the winter to visit the car wash.
The outer front, not rear boots, failed. 11 months later the front right axle had to be replaced due to shakiness in the car.
same problem w/ my 2004 pre mature failure of cv axles 82,000 miles( not likely), just under engineered failure I'm not pleased
Bob: I have the same problem. And my 2005 330xi is still covered under the BMW 100,000 miles warranty.
Am I reading your comment correctly? Yor MA BMW dealer covered the repair of your CV boots under warranty? If so, do you have the name of the dealer and the Service Manager? I'd like to use them as a reference in case our local PA BMW dealer gives me a different opinion.
Please respond to Sheldon at Thanks..... and Happy New Year!!!
Sheldon: I brought car into BMW for the annual maintenance, and they discovered the cracked leaking CVB Boots. They replaced without my knowing of problem or asking. The Service Dept. was at BMW Service Center, Centennial Drive, Peabody, MA 978-538-9900. As I stated, they did the boots, but after the warranty periode ended, my right front axle failed, and they would not cover the $800 since it was out of warranty.

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